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Wedding Wednesday - Dress Shopping

Disclaimer: this is a wedding post. If you are not interested in wedding talk, please feel free to move on.

Last night I had my first dress shopping excursion with Magan. And full on confession, I was oddly nervous.

I'm not petite. I never have been, but I am the heaviest I have ever been. I am actively working to do something about it but in the meantime I feel like I have to shop for the body I have now.

My first wedding dress was straight out of a fairytale. I found it one day at a dress shop in downtown Lewisville. I had participated in a fashion show for the shop while in high school - and one day I was getting my car serviced across the street and it was going to take a while so I decided to go window shopping.

I should clarify that I was not engaged at this point. I did have a serious boyfriend and I was fairly certain he was the ONE at the time, but I wasn't seriously looking.

I just wanted to kill some time.

I remember walking around the shop - it was pretty small and well stocked. This being the mid-90s there was a lot of shiny satin, poofy sleeves, and lace. So. Much. Lace. That wasn't my style - I wanted something timeless.

And definitely not shiny.

I noticed the back wall was a clearance section and you know how much I love a good deal, right? And I swear I am not making this up - there my dress was. The gowns on either side had been pushed aside so you could see the whole thing. It was underneath a spotlight. A chorus of angels sang Hallelujah.

Ok - maybe it was muzak.

But it took my breath away. It was raw silk - not shiny. It had a sheer neckline and sleeves and was trimmed with tiny seed pearls. The back was really low and the skirt was a full on ballgown. I had to try it on.

Guess what? It was a literal perfect fit. It did not need a single alteration. I felt like Cinderella. Obviously it was meant to be.

I decided to put it on layaway. Then I had to go home and explain to my not-yet-fiancé that I had just bought a wedding dress. No pressure. I told him to think of it as my grandmother's wedding dress. I know he was skeptical but he understood once he saw it.

1996 - I also won the custom made veil at a bridal show. #stillloveit

In case you are wondering, that did not speed up the engagement process. I think it was still a solid 6 months at least before he finally proposed.

The next time around was a little different. I was now 38 years old and the fairy tale dress just felt too young to me at the time (I have since decided that is baloney - wear what makes you happy). I was also planning a cruise ship wedding so I needed something that would travel well. I remember trying on a few gowns that I liked in theory but just really didn't work on me. Once again browsing the clearance rack and I found the perfect dress. It definitely suited me, it would travel well, and at just around $100 was very nice on the budget.

There was one catch this time though. The skirt lining was just a smidge tight on my hips and there was no ordering a bigger size. I thought - meh - I just need to lose a few pounds and it will be fine.

Spoiler alert - I didn't lose a few pounds and it wasn't fine.

I was assured by alterations they could fix it for me. The fix was a disaster. Seriously. It was awful. I showed up for what was supposed to be my final fitting and ended up in tears. My dress was ruined. I had two weeks until the wedding. I tried on every viable dress they had in my size. I hated every one of them.

Lesson #1 - DO NOT ATTEND FITTINGS ALONE. You may need your MoH to help talk you off a ledge.

Lesson #2 - DO NOT BUY A SIZE SMALLER THAN YOU ACTUALLY NEED. Just don't. It is much easier to make a dress smaller than it is to make it bigger.

I got a call the next morning asking me to come back in so the head of alterations could see what she could do. She promised to fix it the way I initially requested at no additional cost to me.

And she did. It was perfect and I looked and felt amazing even though we ended up not having a cruise ship wedding. I even got to wear my wedding dress a couple of times after that because it wasn't overtly bridal.

2008 - I felt so beautiful that day.

But seriously, buy a dress for the body you have.

Which brings me back to why I was feeling oddly nervous last night.

When we were on vacation - and before the proposal - I just knew it was time to do something. I hate the way I look. I know my angles and lighting so usually I am happy with the photos I post online but you may have noticed that most of them are from the chest up.

I'm not happy being this size. And if you are a bigger girl and you are happy then good for you. Sincerely. But I'm tired of hating my reflection.

Plus those seats on the plane really are TIGHT.

So I decided that once we got home I was going to really do something about it. I've decided to try Noom. I'm not here to sell you on it but what I liked about it (in concept) is that it isn't a food plan that I have to subscribe to. Food doesn't have points and nothing is off limits. It's about being mindful of your choices.

I am counting my calories, but I'm also moving more. I'm getting more daily steps in and we try to do water aerobics most nights. Noom seems to think I can be at my goal weight by the beginning of March. I'm skeptical, but hopeful. I've been working hard, doing my lessons, and really being thoughtful when it comes to the food I put in my body.

It hasn't been easy and it hasn't been fast but I have lost 12 pounds so far. But even though I am committed to doing this, I'm still shopping for the body I have. I figure if a gown looks good on me at this size, it will look amazing on me when I lose 90 more pounds. Or however close I get.

I am NOT #sweatingforthewedding. I am not on this weight loss journey to look good in a wedding dress. I want to be healthier. I want Rob to be stuck with me for a VERY long time.

I'm not planning on shopping for a fourth wedding dress.

As I mentioned in my previous wedding post, my Pinterest board is a little all over the map. I have pink, purple, blue, green, and various shades of white pinned. I have obvious wedding gowns, evening gowns, ball gowns, and bridesmaids dresses pinned. I do have a couple of favorites but I have no idea where to even find them.

I love the idea of it being a color. I'm a colorful person. I also like the idea of it not being overtly bridal because I like being able to wear it more than once.

I'm letting the dress set the rest of the tone for the wedding. I have a lot of ideas swirling in my head but I don't feel like I can commit to anything until I have THE dress. I have plenty of time still.

Luckily bridal designers have become much more size inclusive than my last go-around. I did find a front runner last night. I won't go into details because Rob will probably read this but I will say it is considerably more bridal than I anticipated. And it is a color that is not on the white spectrum.

It is a lovely gown and very similar to one I have pinned. I do like it but I didn't feel like it was THE dress. Magan and I have another dress appointment tomorrow night so we shall see if I have better luck there.

And if you came here as a mature bride (ugh I really hate that, must think of another term to use), don't let Pinterest or wedding blogs make you believe you are limited in your choices on suitable wedding attire. If you have great legs and want a short skirt, go for it (tastefully). Does the thought of wearing a dress make you break out in hives? Wear a pantsuit. Do you want to wear a dress fit for the Queen you are? Do it.

Wear what makes you feel beautiful.

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